Joanita Wibowo

The fiery moment you missed on Q&A after brutal stare-down: "I'm the host"

The fiery moment you missed on Q&A after brutal stare-down: "I'm the host"

In his second outing on ABC’s Q&A, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts butted heads with host Virginia Trioli as the Senate candidate claimed his party did not want to water down Australia’s gun laws.

In Monday’s edition of the panel talk show, where politicians running for a Queensland seat were gathered, the 63-year-old former Senator responded to an audience member’s question about whether his party would support watering down gun laws, as was shown by One Nation members James Ashby and Steve Dickson in the Al-Jazeera investigative documentary.

“We want to make it harder for terrorists and criminals to get guns,” said Roberts.

“We want to make it easier and more encouraging for good, responsible shooters to actually access the firearms paperwork.

“We want to make sure that people who earn a living or who use guns as part of a trade, such as culling feral animals, they are able to do it more safely.”

Trioli and the audience member who asked the question said they saw this as a watering down of gun laws, but Roberts denied the statement. “That’s not the case … I’m making it clear there’s no watering down,” he said. “We’re making it harder for people to access guns if they’re criminals.”

“But not for sporting shooters and others?” asked Trioli.

“Correct,” said Roberts.

“So, some watering down,” Trioli replied as the audience applauded.

Roberts also denied that Ashby and Dickson were seeking funds from US gun lobby the National Rifle Association before Trioli interjected, “We saw them seek funding.”

Roberts responded, “You’re interrupting me again.”

“I’m the host of the program, Malcolm Roberts,” Trioli replied. “It’s my task to keep you on task.” 

Tensions were also apparent as other panellists, Liberal Senator James McGrath and Greens Senator Larissa Waters, exchanged criticisms over Adani coal mine.

Waters said the Coalition government only supported the project because of political donations. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Adani donated $35,000 to the Liberal Party and $15,000 to One Nation over the 2017-18 period.

McGrath also interjected as the audience cheered for Waters’ explanation of the Greens’ policy to oppose a new Adani mine in Queensland and phase out coal by 2030. 

“You clapped the destruction of the Queensland economy,” he said. “You’ve clapped mass unemployment.”

The two also had a verbal spar over the allegedly growing racist sentiment among the Coalition.

“The Liberal National party is a party for all Queenslanders regardless of where you come from and how long you’ve been here,” said McGrath.

“As long as you share our values – and one of our values is its inclusivity, and we’re colour blind when it comes to the colour of your own skin … And I’m sure the Greens and I hope Labor would agree with that.”

However, Waters said Peter Dutton’s immigration detention policies did not reflect this.

McGrath replied, “You’ve accused my party of taking policy positions based on donations, which is wrong and is offensive, and now you’ve effectively accused Peter Dutton of being a racist. That is wrong.”

He continued, “Where are your tears for those people who drowned at sea and were eaten by the sharks? Where were your tears there?”

The talk show came ahead of the federal election, which will take place on May 18.